Community Health and Development

This concentration is for students interested in building healthy and well-functioning communities. Students may apply their learning in fields such as public health, public policy, law, rehabilitation, psychology, social welfare, and medicine. They may also do so through public service such as AmeriCorps, Teach for America, or Peace Corps.  This concentration provides opportunities to learn and make a difference with important community problems and goals (e.g., childhood obesity, substance abuse, violence, education, child and youth development, independent living of people with disabilities, well-being of older adults). 

Coursework and practicum experiences focus on (a) intervention methods used to address community problems and goals (e.g., strategic planning, intervention, advocacy) and (b) research methods used to study the effects of community initiatives for health and development (e.g., community assessment, evaluation). The course sequence culminates in a two-semester practicum arranged with faculty members and representatives of community organizations or governmental agencies (e.g., in public health, child advocacy, independent living, youth development, community development).

Introductory Course:  3 hours

ABSC 100            Introduction to Applied Behavioral Science (3)


ABSC 101         Introduction to Applied Behavioral Science, Honors (3)

Core Knowledge Courses: 10 hours

ABSC 304            Principles and Procedures of Behavior Modification (3)

ABSC 308            Research Methods and Application (4)

ABSC 509            Contemporary Behavioral Science (3)

Required Concentration Courses: 6 hours

Plan your program with an advisor in the Department.

ABSC 150            Community Leadership (3)


ABSC 151            Community Leadership, Honors (3)


ABSC 310         Building Healthy Communities (3)


ABSC 311            Building Healthy Communities, Honors (3)         

Specialty Concentration: at least 8 hours

Any junior-senior level ABSC courses, except those already required as introductory, core knowledge, and required specialty area courses.  Additionally, practicum courses (ABSC 675-699) do not count as specialty area electives.  Please see specialty area advisors for recommendations; the following are recommended:

ABSC 310/311  Building Health Communities (3)

ABSC 342         Adult Development & Aging (3)

ABSC 356         Foundations of Early Childhood Education (3)

ABSC 360         Drugs, Addiction, & Behavior (3)

ABSC 405         Children and Media (3)

ABSC 410+       Behavioral Approaches in Working with Adolescents (3)

ABSC 425*^      Teaching Apprenticeship in Applied Behavioral Science (3)

ABSC 433         Analysis of Cultural, Ethnic, and Gender Roles in Childhood & Adolescence (3)

ABSC 437+       Independent Living and People with Disabilities (3)

ABSC 469*^        Special Topics (1-3)

ABSC 470+           Organizational Behavior Management (3)

ABSC 479*^        Study Abroad Topics (1-5)

ABSC 486+           Issues in Parenting (3)

ABSC 499*^        Directed Research (1-3)

ABSC 535+           Developmental Psychopathology (3)

ABSC 542            Applied Gerontology (3)

ABSC 555            Issues in Administering Early Childhood

Services (3)

ABSC 560            The Juvenile Justice System: A Behavioral &

Legal Perspective (3)

ABSC 562+       Behavioral Community Approaches to Social Issues (3)

ABSC 565+           Applied Developmental Psychology (3)

ABSC 599*^        Honors & Thesis in Applied Behavioral Science


ABSC 606*^        Special Projects in the Community (1-10)

ABSC 620            Drug Abuse: From Basic Research to Public

Policy (3)

ABSC 626+           Psychology of Adolescence (3)

ABSC 632            Advanced Child Behavior and Development (3)

ABSC 671+           Applied Behavior Analysis (3)

ABSC 799            Experimental Analysis of Behavior (3)

+ Recommended as complementary to concentration.

* No more than 6 credit hours of these courses count toward ABS major hours.

^ Requires instructor permission.

Practicum: 6 hours

Two semesters of practicum are required (3 hours in both Fall and Spring semesters).  ABSC 310/311 is a prerequisite for the practicum.  Enrollment may depend on the date of indication of interest and performance in ABSC 310/311. 

ABSC 690^       Practicum in Community Health and Development (3) or

ABSC 691^       Practicum in Community Health and Development, Honors (3)

^  Requires instructor permission.

Faculty Members

Professors Jomella Watson-Thompson and Vincent Francisco


Community Tool Box

American Psychological Association

Division 27: Society for Community Research and Action: Division of Community Psychology

American Public Health Association

Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE)

World Health Organization